In late Sunday, the Iranian nuclear plant in Natanz was hit by an explosion which caused a power blackout. The incident was confirmed by Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization (AEOI) spokesperson Behrouz Kamalvandi. The spokesperson stated that the incident did not cause any casualties or contamination. On the other hand, Iranian media reported that the spokesperson Kamalvandi had an accident, causing a “head injury and a broken leg,” while he was in the Natanz plant to investigate the scene.
Briefing on the issue, two intelligence officials stated that a large explosion completely destroyed the closely guarded separate internal power system, which provides energy to underground centrifuges that enrich uranium. Speaking on the condition of their names remaining unidentified, the other two officials stated that that incident had inflicted a heavy blow to the Iranian plant’s uranium enrichment capability, and restoring the facility full capacity could take at least nine months.
The head of the Iranian Atomic Energy Organization, Ali Akbar Salehi, identified the incident as an act of “nuclear terrorism” and called the international community to stand against it. As quoted by the Iranian media, Salehi said that “The action against the Natanz enrichment site shows the defeat of those who oppose our country’s nuclear and political development and the significant gains of our nuclear industry.” “Iran reserves the right to take action against the perpetrators,” Salehi added.
Additionally, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif also blamed Israel for the Natanz plant incident saying, “The Zionists want to take revenge because of our progress in the way to lift sanctions… They have publicly said that they will not allow this. But we will take our revenge from the Zionists.”
An Iranian news site reported that a person who is responsible for the incident had been identified, without providing any details about the person. “Necessary measures are being taken to arrest this person,” the website added.
Any official comment has not been made yet by the Israeli side. However, Israeli public radio Kan reported that Mossad had carried out a cyberattack at the Iranian facility, quoting intelligence sources. Besides, speaking at a ceremony organized to celebrate the 73rd anniversary of Israel’s founding on Sunday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that “the fight against Iran’s nuclearization is a massive task,” without directly referring Natanz.